Tulips and crocuses. Robins. Meaningful college basketball games. All of these are classic harbingers of spring, but perhaps the surest sign that spring is here is the annual Eric Chavez comeback story. Hark! There it is!
Mike Gallego has a fun challenge this spring: The A’s infield coach has to turn a Gold Glove third baseman into a competent first baseman. Going from third to first isn’t a snap, as Eric Chavez already has discovered. Gallego has worked with Chavez three days a week since Feb. 1, and it’s coming along slowly . . . If Chavez continues to have good health after his second back surgery,
the plan is that he’ll be a utilityman, playing at third, first, DH and
maybe even at shortstop and the outfield.
I wish I was in A’s camp this week. I’d ask someone from the front office if they’d pick up Chavez’s $12.5 million option for 2011 in the event he makes it as a utilityman.
The Rockies have signed free agent outfielder/infielder Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million.
Desmond, 31, played his first season as a full-time outfielder with the Rangers in 2016. Before that he was the Nationals shortstop. He’ll almost certainly be an outfielder in Colorado, as the Rockies have Trevor Story at short. Desmond hit .285/.335/.446 with 22 home runs, 86 RBI, 107 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 677 plate appearances, though he was much, much better in the first half than the second half.
The Rangers had placed a qualifying offer on him which he rejected, so the Rockies will have to give up their first round pick in the 2017 draft, which is 11th overall. That’s the highest pick a team can surrender under the qualifying offer system, as the first ten picks in the draft are protected.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Marlins have signed lefty Jeff Locke. Terms have yet to be disclosed.
Locke was non-tendered by the Pirates last week after putting up a 5.44 ERA over 127.3 innings in 2016. He’s just 29 and, even if he’s never been super great or anything, he has pitched better in the past, posting a career 4.16 ERA before last season.